Natalie Portman in Venice, CA

Posted on August 19, 2013

As if Katy Perry’s Lilith Fair getup wasn’t enough last week to let us know the ’90s are back, here’s Natalie, to remind us of that quintessential look of the decade: a prairie dress and lace-up boots.


Natalie Portman out for lunch at the Gjelina Restaurant in Venice, California.

It’s not exactly an updated take. It’s pretty literal, in fact. Lower that hem to the ankles and she’s Laura Ingalls Wilder. It’s a cute daytime look, though. We don’t know how much we love all that rick-rack, but we definitely prefer her when she’s not trying so hard, like here. It’s walking that line between “retro” and “dated,” but the low-key charm is winning us over.




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    • Kiltdntiltd

      I just want a simple brown leather belt with it.

      • StellaZafella

        I wonder if even the boots here are leather, but leather-like. She’s been such an outspoken advocate of alternate materials and has (or had) her own shoe line: Non-leather products.

        • Kiltdntiltd

          I suppose it depends on if they are borrowed or actually hers. If borrowed, then she has a contract, and can’t refuse, based on the material used.

        • Wendi126

          No way are they leather. She wouldn’t wear them otherwise. There are shoe stores in NYC selling nothing but vegan footwear.

          • Call me Bee

            Which drives me nuts, because “vegan footwear” just means they are plastic, right? I know it’s an issue of animal cruelty rather than being environmentally responsible, but wearing plastic shoes seems…against nature.

            • mlle

              I wore a lot of fabric shoes during my non-leather phase. Because I was an ordinary, not particularly fashionable teenager rather than a movie star, that boiled down to all Converse all the time.

            • d4divine

              Some of the plastic shoes don’t look so bad these days…but if I’m gonna pay $200+ for a pair of shoe, they better be leather…that’s just me

            • alyce1213

              There’s “plastic” and then there’s very good synthetic leather. There are also options for fabrics and plant materials. A lot of choices for committed vegans, and very pretty ones.

            • Tatiana Luján

              even teh best synthetic leather makes your feet sweat.

            • alyce1213

              True. Socks help a lot. (Leather boots can make your feet sweat too.)

    • kmk05

      I like it! It’s cute, and the length stops it from being too Ingalls. Paired with the frames, it give her a more modern look. And she actually looks like she is in the middle of running errands: her bag is full!

    • sagecreek

      I’m charmed that she is not showing off an expensive bag, but instead appears to be carrying a cloth shopping bag like the rest of us mortals.

      • mlle

        I was just about to comment on that!

      • SewingSiren

        With a plastic shopping bag inside it.

        • rajf

          and something like a $1000 Hermes wallet, no doubt.

          • sagecreek

            All well and good, she’s still not doing the Reese Witherspoon LOOKATMYEXPENSIVEPURSE pole dance.

            • rajf

              True, but the joke would be on us if this is one of those weird trends of some designer creating an expensive version of a grocery store tote bag (sort of like the designer equivalents of concert t-shirts). What’s saving me from thinking that is the plastic shopping bag sticking out of it. :)

    • Karen Belgrad

      “Awww… look Pa, little Carrie’s tumblin down the hill”

    • MoHub

      Maybe she’s on her way to a square-dance session.

      • SRQkitten

        She’s definitely got the dress for it! That was my first reaction when I saw this “square dancing dress.” Please tell me this is not coming into vogue.

    • ashtangajunkie

      I like the boots, I like the dress. I really hate them paired together.

      • Jackie4g

        The problem is, if she wore pretty flats, then everyone would say the look was dated. At least it would be sensible.

        Edited for typos

    • marlie

      I like the dress, but not the boots. Add a bent and switch in some ballet flats, and this would be totally adorable.

    • LauraAgain

      I love it! It looks comfortable and sweet, and honestly, wouldn’t it be nice if tween and teen girls adopted this look rather than the prostitute look they’re currently rocking?

    • joanna dash

      She looks cute. And possibly pregnant 😉

    • giddypony

      Want the boots.

    • cluecat

      Yes, remember wearing leather boots with no socks in the ’90s with dresses. Also remember hot stinky feet! I bet Natalie’s dogs are barking. Guh-ross. The ’90s were full of hideous footwear and I’m hoping some of the heavy clunkers come back too so I can look at them on celebrities and laugh.

      • mlle

        Whenever I look at old photos, I think those shoes are hilariously bad. I have no idea how they’re coming back into style but they clearly are… my little sister owns more than one pair of thick soled platform sneakers (a la the Spice Girls)

        • cluecat

          OK, I have ’90s on my mind. I read Spice Girls and thought Indigo Girls and was trying to remember their footwear, which was probably comfortable and not on trend, haha. OMG I hope your sister is literal, like Natalie Portman, and wears them with a Union Jack dress.

          • mlle

            My sister is less literal, but you have brightened my morning because I’m now imagining her dressed as a Spice Girl, Union Jack dress and all.

      • neeva

        Especially hot and gross if those are vegan-leather. Isn’t that her thing?

        • mlle


      • alyce1213

        But . . . why do you assume she’s not wearing socks? I imagine she is. I sure would.

      • christinewithanx

        I keep thinking of that foot powder commercial that goes, “My family calls me SWAMPFOOT…”

    • DamH

      Looks like she’s wandering to nowhere with that bag, so cute.

    • annabelle archer

      I’m wearing my cranky britches today, so I don’t know if it’s her or me, but I’m having trouble being comfortable with Natalie Portman, Academy Award winning, Harvard graduate, married to a Parisian ballet choreographer of note, capital ‘A’ Actress, walking the streets as Annie Oakley.

      • MoHub

        Annie Oakley dressed a lot sharper.

    • nannypoo

      Swing your partner, do-si-do. Yee-haw.

      • annabelle archer

        I wonder if she and hubby are working on a bizarre Ho Down filled sequel to Black Swan.

        • cluecat

          Balanchine’s Square Dance in prairie dress instead of leotards.

    • SewingSiren

      Love it. I like rick-rack, calico, and Santa Fe skirts. There I said it now sue me. I would prefer a solid white blouse, but she seems manage the matchy just fine.

      • Sarah

        Solid white blouse would take it into Square Dance Recital town, for sure.

    • Judy_J

      She looks cute. I think a belt would have been a nice touch.

    • Daisy Walker

      Burn it. Burn it all.

    • Judy_S

      And she made it herself.

    • MilaXX

      Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on…

      • Zorkness

        Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?

    • crash1212

      Love it. Entirely. Top to bottom. Love the red and white print. Love the rick-rack. Love it all with the boots. Sue me.

      • joanna dash

        My lawyer will be in touch with you in the morning.

    • bellafigura1

      Fascinating how she must have dug out those boots from the waay back of the closet. You’d think a Natalie Portman would have shipped those off to the Goodwill already.

      • mlle

        Unlike the rest of us mortals, stars have the closet space to spare.

    • Nancer

      I love it. She looks cute, and she isn’t dressing for the paparazzi – you can tell because she isn’t carrying a major label purse, just a canvas bag! Cute.

    • MaggieMae

      Shoot me now. I actually think it’s kind of cute.

    • Sarah

      I think it’s okay, but I don’t remember prairie skirts in the 90’s. The eighties, yes. With Frilly Plaid Blouses, which should never EVER return.

    • marshmallowjane

      Rick-rack usually makes a garment look homemade. Otherwise she looks natural, comfortable and unaffected.

    • Rhonda Shore

      Prefer the Lilith Fair 90s look…though i can’t see Nat sporting it…

    • Chipster

      Not really feeling the rick-rack or the boots. It is a cute dress but a little too homespun with all those rustic embellishments.

    • Watts

      When Natalie freakin’ Portman just barely, barely avoids the tree stump calves that kind of boot gives a person, what hope is there for the rest of us? JUST SAY NO to this trend.

      • housefulofboys

        Exactly what I thought! Her legs look positively chunky here and we know that’s not the case.

    • MoHub

      Oh-klahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain. And she’s gonna fall flat on her face if she doesn’t tie those bootlaces.

    • MK03

      Ehh, I don’t think this is very 90s. This looks like something straight out of the mid-70s.

      • MoHub

        Gunne Sax realness.

    • Julie Parr

      I’m not completely convinced that prairie dresses were all the rage in the 90s. I distinctly recall being desperate for a prairie skirt in the early to mid 80s, but by the 90s, I was all about the (flowered, admittedly) babydoll dresses.

      • Constant Reader

        That fit-and-flare shape with the tie in the back! And spaghetti straps which we all dealt with by wearing a t-shirt underneath in those innocent days before bra straps became accessories.

    • Julie Parr

      And, the boots in the 90s were combat boots, not lace-up boots like these that are a little delicate. But, that’s just what I recall. The combat boots with the flowered babydoll dresses, in particular.

      • Not applicable

        agreed- the Doc Martins. Boots or even just the heavy shoe.

      • Call me Bee

        Correct. We were wearing dresses like these with smaller, delicate boots (if there is such a thing…) back in the early 70’s, when Little House was still on TV.

      • Celandine1

        I didn’t wear combat boots in the 90s, I had what we called lace-up granny boots. I loved those boots. Praire skirts and dresses were mid to late 80s and empire waist dresses like you mention were 90s.

    • Not applicable

      the dress looks cute on her- but the boots are fug.

    • Kate


    • kimmeister

      Hunh, I don’t remember ever seeing her hair that color.

    • alyce1213

      I think she looks adorable, completely. OK, maybe a belt, that’s all.

    • valerie saenz

      Venice CA demands a very (very) casual look. This look suits Venice.

      • CatherineRhodes

        Seriously, have you ever been to Venice? It’s very gritty.

        • valerie saenz

          Yes. “Very gritty” is an understatement. Bring Purell hand sanitizer. :)

    • CatherineRhodes

      It’s way too literal. Is she going square-dancing?

      • Call me Bee

        Ahahahaha…no the skirt is too long!

        • CatherineRhodes

          Yeah, and she would need some braids in her hair.

        • Lilak

          Ya know, if she installed the mandated quantity of petticoats, I bet she wouldn’t need to hem it much.

    • Call me Bee

      Yikes. That dress looks huge on her, and actually makes her look dumpy with pudgy legs. Since we all know she’s a tiny thing, the outfit needs to be in the trash.

      • Glammie

        I think it’s the boots more than the dress. She’s too short to cut up the lines of her calf like that. Either shorter skirt or smaller shoes. A sandal would have been cute and less costume-y

    • Laurie Cubbison

      20 years? Check. The 20-year fashion nostalgia cycle kicks in again.

    • Jaeda Laurez

      I really need the 90’s to stay put. I don’t think we need to go there again. There’s not enough combat boots and one sided overalls and swoop bangs and wide legged jeans to make this okay.

      • mlle

        Don’t forget the platform sneakers that looked like giant marshmallows or the prune coloured shimmery lipsticks.

        • Jaeda Laurez

          God…you are describing my sophomore year to a tee. all Sketchers and dark lipstick everything.

    • Carrie Barnes

      I don’t remember prairie dresses from the 90s. Maybe I’m having a merciful memory lapse. I feel like in the 90s it would be a babydoll with lace-ups.

    • Qitkat

      Hey, I dressed like this *once upon a time*! Down to the exact same boots. Loved those boots. Very comfy back in the day. Which for me was way earlier than the ’90s. But this is dated, dated but cute for a casual lunch.

    • greenwich_matron

      Oh, you meant the 1890’s. Was there a famine then? Because Natalie looks like she could use some soup and a few vitamin pills to chase off those August-in-California chills.

    • d4divine

      Not my taste, but somehow it works on her…it DID NOT on Katy Perry.

    • LaSylphide

      Back in the day, this was the look I wore constantly. (Which is pretty strange, because I grew up about as far from the ‘frontier’ as it’s possible to get: not a lot of cattle in West Philly.). I think she looks cute; cuter than I ever did [sigh].

    • Danielle

      Where The Heart Is, indeed.

    •!/Space_Kitty Space Kitty

      Oh, jesus christ rick-rack. No children, stop. Please.

    • CeeQ

      OH HELLS. I can’t do the 90s again. I didn’t do it that well the first time round.
      Although….I am mercifully almost free of my early 20s angst….so maaaaaybe this time it will be fantastic??
      Nah, who am I kidding? The only thing that worked well on my non descript bean pole of a bod in the 90s was the maxi skirt. And even then I kept tripping on the bloody things.

    • Lilithcat

      I hate to tell you what those dresses were called when I was a kid.

    • demidaemon

      I have a pertinent question: Is a vegan precluded from wearing animal-sourced items only (i.e leather and fur)? Or does this include all naturally sourced fabrics?

      Because, if that dress is polyester, I weep for her.

      • alyce1213

        No way is it polyester. Vegan fibers (sourced from plants) include: linen, cotton, tencel, ramie, bamboo.
        Non-vegan fabrics (sourced from animals) include wool, silk, cashmere, mohair, alpaca, llama, camel hair.

        This is a partial list.

        • demidaemon

          Thanks for the answers! Much appreciated!

    • Shawn EH

      She looks pretty, that’s good.


      Stank Boot! My feet sweat just thinking about it in this summer heat! I like the idea of the outfit, would be cute as just a skirt with a white tee and some cute sandals.
      Funny to see a ladystar without a giant purse on display. I like her normal, everyday canvas tote.

    • anotherkate

      I feel like she’s a bit too short to pull off those proportions. Or rather, those proportions do nothing for her (there is nothing wrong with her/being short. There is a lot wrong with what those boots/that hem length are doing to her legs).

    • kbshee

      I just through out my boots like those that were 20 years old. Dayum.

    • Anniebet

      Well, damn. I think this is pretty darned cute, so bring on the straitjacket.

    • willworktomorrow

      Dr. Portman, Medicine Woman.

    • Pterodactyl111

      One or the other. One or the other.

    • Fannie Wolston

      It’s cute, she looks like an art student between classes, love the shitkickers, and canvas bag to blend in with the street people.